Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book Review: The Heart of a Woman by Maya Angelou

This installment of the series was a great read (four of six). Here she is really starting to come into her own as a woman, hence the title. She goes to NYC and does a little of this and a little of that: acting, singing, dancing, and so forth. She begins by still mostly thinking of herself as a performer and using the jobs she gets to pay the bills. At a certain point, her interest in writing is sparked and she joins the Harlem Writers Guild when prompted by friends.

In this book, she is discussing her life at the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s, so, we see how she became active in the Civil Rights movement. She eventually ends up running an office for the SCLC and Martin Luther King, Jr. whom she has a face to face meeting with in her office. Maya also becomes engaged to a regular "average Joe" working stiff and then promptly drops him for another man, basically almost the first night she meets him. She ends up marrying this African activist (he calls himself a "freedom fighter") who is striving hard to free South Africa (unfortunately, Apartheid was still a reality at that time).

Eventually, she moves to Africa with him and her son Guy. This marriage doesn't work out either however; he doesn't take care of bills as he promises, and Maya is far too strong willed and independent to tolerate him any further. The book ends shortly after the "divorce" events, but, not before a rather dramatic finish. Guy, being kind and intelligent, drives a few drunkard friends home, only to be hit, while pulled over on the side of the road, by a rather large truck. He ends up with a near full body cast and his neck broken in three places.

Number five in the series of six, All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, begins with further details on Guy's hospitalization and Maya's attempts to earn money and keep them in Africa.

And so it goes...
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